Oct 15, 2021 • 4M

Poems written during Wednesday’s live stream (15/10/21)

One last visit to the Lake

Niall O'Sullivan
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Wednesday’s stream was probably the last one I’ll spend playing Lake, the game where the main character (Meredith) delivers mail and parcels about a sleepy, rural 1980s setting while working through her own personal issues and the dramas of those around her. It’s been a fun game for the streams and I’ve found it easy to write poems while playing it. It’s a relief to find that I don’t have to rely on epic open world games from big studios that don’t treat their workers well.

The first poem from the session came from a moment where Meredith unloaded a tiny parcel from the back of the van and commented on how heavy it was. I wondered what kind of object was so dense that it rendered such a tiny parcel heavy? From there is seemed only natural to speculate that it was the densest object in the known universe.

When sending a black hole in the post
packing becomes quite the issue
I’m not much of a scientist
but I know a girl in Geneva
who gave me all the life hacks
on boxing up a devourer of worlds
and box it up I did, a tiny diddy thing
but oh so bloody heavy
can’t wait for the bastard to open it
ha ha we’ll all die

Next up, I noticed a green wheelbarrow leaning up against a house and I had to channel the spirit of William Carlos Williams.

so much depends
on the old green wheelbarrow
leaned against the white wooden house
where the pervert lives

One of the deliveries was to a rundown shack in the middle of the woods to deliver a chainsaw shaped package. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes were not too subtle.

leatherface wasn’t in
to accept his chainsaw-shaped package
which was actually a chainsaw-shaped edition
of Das Kapital by Marx

I’m quite proud of this next one. I have no idea if it’s any good but it was written in as pure a state of flow as I could have wished for. Sometimes I’m too aware of my small audience, live and recorded, and become a little bit self conscious as I write. This time I just manoeuvred Meredith onto the docks overlooking the eponymous lake and got to writing as if I was really there — looking over the water and inwardly philosophising about what a worm, packed tight in a box with other worms, is capable of knowing and how that mirrors our own epistemological horizons.

Waxworms for the fisherman
little lives stacked in a cardboard cave
with no knowledge of the hook
or the abyss of a trout’s mouth

and little lives converge
around the vast lake too
many convinced they are
a central character
in a narrative that may not be grand
but is still a kind of arc,
a classic case of here to there
a kind of becoming —
none can see the box they’re stuck in
nor the origin of the wires that
they dangle from

the lake is flat but hypnotic
when the sun meets its
undulating eddies
but when the moon beams mildly
on a foggy night
the truth emerges

destiny viewed
through a smudged glass —
the gaping maw
of what’s about
to happen

Finally, I discovered my first proper glitch after so many hours of gaming: an old lady sitting patiently in a car that was half submerged into the road.

old lady was such a slow driver
that she got concreted over
she keeps the engine running
and waits for the world to crack open
she’s survived four husbands
the concrete doesn’t stand a chance

As I said, I’ll be playing a new game next week, The Good Life, which has had some mixed reviews so far. It’s a pretty far out concept (a debt recovery RPG set in a sleepy English village where the inhabitants keep turning into dogs and cats) and it’s meant to be glitchy as hell but I’ll judge it when I play it. You can tune in at Wednesday, 8pm (UK time) via my YouTube channel .

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